Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Advent means "coming," and is about things to come. During Advent we are prepared for the arrival of future realities, having an anticipation instilled within us. And this anticipation, this preparedness, turns us away from the fleeting things of this world so that we would have as our object, our goal, things that last, things that are eternal, even holy things.
"This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives lives as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away" (1 Corinthians 7:29-31).
Of course, St. Paul isn't neglecting his own teaching of wives and husbands loving one another by submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5). Scripture interprets Scripture, and helps us avoid that faulty conclusion of these somewhat confounding words of the apostle.
But St. Paul does mean what he writes; and what he is writing of is real freedom. In fact, it's the same freedom we learn by observing the Advent season of preparation.
We know that some things are temporary--they come and they go. Other things, of course, are here to stay--they are eternal. God's Word teaches us that "the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8). God's Word, which promises the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting to those who are in Christ, endures while the fleeting things of this veil of sorrows (our broken world) are, well, fleeting, temporary, and eventually, gone.
The eternal promises of God's Word show us what our lasting and eternal inheritance will be. This Word produces in us an anticipation of, and a focus on, those eternal things, those lasting things, those holy things. Those promised future realities enable us to turn away from the temporary, material, and often times sinful, things of this world, for we know that better things--lasting things--are coming, for Christ is coming, and he will bring with him the promised new creation where fruit is produced in season and out, death is turned into life, grief is replaced with the joy of eternal reunion, and while Christian wives and husbands and family members will be a part of the eternal reward, we will enjoy an eternal union--an everlasting marriage--with the bridegroom, Jesus Christ himself, and have a seat at the marriage feast of the lamb.
Those who look for Christ are those who are free. Faith in promised things, coming things, eternal things, allows us to live free from the ways of the world--and that is what this season of preparation is all about.
May your Advent season be continually blessed with anticipation of eternal things to come in Christ. Amen.